In line with the EU Green Deal’s ambitions, ‘climate and resource frontrunners’ need to develop by 2030 the first commercial applications of breakthrough technologies in key industrial sectors.
The trilateral region of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), Flanders (Belgium) and the Netherlands is home to one of the world’s most powerful industrial clusters, making it an outstanding candidate to develop new climate-neutral technologies for the energy-intensive industry.
In both Germany and the Netherlands, the innovation and economic landscape strongly supports the development of climate-friendly technologies. A crucial scientific and technological area for the energy transition and the electrification of industry is the field of ElectroChemical Conversion & Materials, ECCM. Both Germany and the Netherlands are natural partners in this field.
Germany has a strong knowledge base in ECCM and is eager to become a global leader in H2 technologies. The Kopernikus projects are an inspiring example of Germany’s concerted efforts to bring ECCM know-how and technology to the next level. In the Netherlands, the ECCM Advisory Committee advises the Dutch government on the transition to a CO2-neutral industry based on intermittent and sustainable energy generation, storage and conversion. Several national programmes are running under the aegis of this committee.
Stepping up the DE – NL collaboration
The German and Dutch governments sign a Joint Declaration of Intent to underline cooperation in the field of the energy transition, including research and innovation, by means of bilateral or multilateral research projects.
This is the starting point to shape a workshop between the two countries, with the intention to explore future collaborations in the field of ECCM. EU priority areas include clean hydrogen; fuel cells and alternative fuels; energy storage and carbon capture, storage and utilisation. Therefore, bilateral collaboration on these topics will facilitate strong engagement in the Green Deal.
In October ca. 100 participants take part to an online bilateral workshop in Vaals (NL). These include technology experts, senior scientists and government representatives from the two countries. This meeting is as a stepping stone for the bilateral dialogue on the ECCM field, and serves to identify key areas for collaboration between DE-NL. The conclusions of the workshop have been published in a bilateral DE – NL agenda, the Call to Action to foster collaboration between Germany and The Netherlands on green hydrogen and green chemicals.
The bilateral workshop in 2020 also laid the basis for a new call for proposals for short, exploratory projects on fundamental and applied research related to ECCM, run by DE-NL public-private consortia. The call for proposals, ECCM KICkstart DE-NL, has received a 3 M€ budget from EZK (the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy). With a deadline in June, expectations are that the first projects will start by the end of the year.
In July a DE-NL delegation presents the Call to Action and further bilateral collaboration plans during the Dutch – German Hydrogen Symposium 2021 (Dutch and English), as part of the state visit of the Dutch Royals to Germany.
What’s in store
- A large bilateral call for proposals (10 M€) is currently in preparation. Expectations are that the call will be published by the end of 2021.
- The Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO, is preparing a matchmaking mission to Germany (focus on North Rhine-Westphalia) on the field of ECCM, to promote the large call for proposals in preparation and help formation of consortia.